Which, let's face it, is indelibly linked to Immaturity.
So it's Friday. I leave work. My mate Bomber is up for our thrice yearly Him-And-Me drink in my neck of the woods, which suits me fine.
We go to the new-ish bar below my flat. Fairly empty. We move on the The Raven. Fairly trendy. On a whim, Bomber and I investigate our theory that underneath the large chain pizzeria almost opposite my flat is something happening below street level. We descend. Sure enough, there's a trendy bar, a dj, and lots of sofas. Perfect. We get some Gin and Slims and settle in. It's like discovering a little-known secret. A large crowd are drinking away. We lean in and 'background' their private photographs like a pair of, well, twats. Two guys are next to us sandwiching a grinning girl over a small table - this sounds more filthy than it actually is. Opposite us sit three pretty girls in little black dresses.
Bomber and I shoot the shit. When we meet up, we like to shit-shoot, and it is quite remarkably life-affirming. Tonight, however, Bomber becomes melancholy. He points at his volumous head of hair (ginger - or deep red, if you're American) and complains that it is the third most repulsive thing after death and disease.
I disagree. After all (and remember my kiddie photo), I am not exactly Sans Rouge myself plus, first and foremost, the colour of your hair is as intrinsically meaningless as the colour of your skin when deciphering how decent a human being you are. Hitler, let's not forget, wasn't ginger, and he was pretty much a bit of a shit.
Bomber has ginger issues.
I'm determined to disprove him.
Two of the three little black dress wearing girls opposite us are at the bar as Bomber remarks that he's as comfortable with Ginger Hatred as he is in a nice warm dressing gown. Seeing a (rather poor) In, I race over to the lone girl opposite us to solicit her opinion.
'So what's your take on Ginger-haired men?'
Surprisingly, it's not good. Ginger, to her, is Chris Evans. Oh, and Mick Hucknall. Sure, they're ginger. But they're both pretty much regarded as evil and hideous the world over. One of the cute girls returns from the bar to this table while her friend I'd been talking to asks her about Gingers.
"I like Black Men", she snaps at me, before retreating back to the bar.
Oh. Ok. I'm about as far removed from black as you can get. I feel her FUCK YOU.
Feeling awkward, I make my excuses to remaining nice lady and go back to Bomber. Drunkenness compels me to tell him that his paranoia is thoroughly well-founded ~ Ginger folk are apparently scum, and you can include me in that. Sorry, mate.
On a nearby table, a large young dark man who'd been watching my pretty awful progress runs over to the girl I'd just been talking to, to whisper in her ear.
Girl cackles. He returns proudly to his chair.
Well done. A thousand brownie points. Very brave.
A few minutes later and all three girls are back at their table. Large young dark man leaves his group of smaller young dark men to chat to girls. Ms. "I Like Black Men" leaps up to avoid him in such a manner that I feel compelled to remind her that he's surely her type (I am drunk after all.)
'Don't touch me', she barks at me as soon as I get there.
'How old are you?', she demands of me.
'I'm 32', I state proudly. I had my first full shave only the day before and I look about twelve.
'You're way too fucking old. Get the fuck away from me.'
'Well how old are you then?' I ask.
Jesus, of course she is. Her skin is virtually ceramic. Despite her lovely figure squeezed into her little black dress, close up I realise she's still a child, with the attitude to boot. I look at her friends. Oh crap. I thought they were all late-twenties. They're not.
When I first started smoking my skinning-up cigarettes when I ran out of dope, these girls were about three.
'There's no need to be so hostile,' I venture.
'Yes there is, just get the fuck away from me.'
This was a bit of a shock. This was way too aggressive.
'Look, you've clearly only been drinking for a year or two and you obviously can't deal with people socially, but you shouldn't talk to people like this.'
'Don't fucking patronise me, I've been drinking since I was fourteen, alright?'
'Woah! Sorry! I didn't realise how classy you were.'
I walked off in disgust. I never normally have to walk off anywhere in disgust, unless I've been to see Jim Davidson.
Large young dark man is now gesticulating wildly doing impressions of 'Guy With Tail Between His Legs'. Girls laugh, including 'Don't-Patronise Me' Girl, who seconds before was insulting large young dark man by running away from him. They wave and point and generally make me want to leave immediately.
I am vaguely humiliated.
We drink up and walk out seconds later. Girls and their new male friend point and cackle and wave in victory. They're clearly all reached the peak of their maturity. I know I'm still way off.
And perhaps that's the point. As you get older, you get overwhelmed with the amount there is to learn. Some people think they know it all at nineteen. And if they can make someone older feel stupid, then that's vindication of their own intelligence.
I just wish I could spot teenage idiots in their first dark bar so I know to steer clear.